Lancashire and Durham battle to a draw at Sedbergh
Graham Onions and Saqib Mahmood did their best to bowl a depleted Lancashire to victory against Durham before the teams settled for a draw in this Specsavers County Championship match on a gloriously sunny final day at Sedbergh School.
The pair took five of the six Durham second-innings wickets to fall to undermine the visitors attempt to chase down the 304 runs for victory. Mahmood took 3-58 from 19 overs while Onions claimed 2-38 from 17 overs to finish with match figures of 7-131.
In fact Durham were indebted to their captain Cameron Bancroft who batted for almost five hours to produce a hugely impressive and resilient unbeaten innings of 92 while wickets fell at the other end.
It was a tense and fittingly dramatic finish after four memorable days at Lancashire’s newest home venue.
The 11 points from the match puts Lancashire second in the Division Two table, three points behind leaders Glamorgan but with a game in hand.
Under sunny skies Lancashire added 43 runs to their overnight 204-7 with skipper Dane Vilas putting bat to ball before departing for a fine 85 having helped add 55 runs for the 8th wicket with Mahmood who finished unbeaten on 31. Both Onions and James Anderson, batting with a runner, fell for ducks to leave Durham with 79 overs to get 304.
The visitors made a terrible start losing Alex Lees for a duck in Mahmood’s first over after the batsman played no shot to a ball that clipped the top of his off stump.
And Mahmood was racing across the Sedbergh School square celebrating a spectacular success in his next over after uprooting both the middle and off stumps in comprehensively beating Gareth Harte for pace. It was a fine spell of fast bowling with Mahmood taking 2-13 from five overs before the break.
Bancroft and Jack Burnham steadied the innings to reach lunch on 39-2 but Burnham, having struck 4 fours in making 20 from 29 balls, then inexplicably played no shot to an Onions delivery that took out his middle stump in the first over of the afternoon to leave Durham struggling on 39-3.
But true to the fluctuating nature of this game, the visitors’ fortunes improved throughout the afternoon due to a fine partnership between Bancroft and Graham Clark.
The pair batted steadily to add 69 runs in 24 overs as Red Rose captain Vilas, already shorn of the services of James Anderson, also lost Liam Livingstone from his bowling attack at lunch due to a fielding injury.
That left Onions, Mahmood and Bohannon shouldering the bulk of the remaining overs supported by Jennings and Croft and meant Vilas had to carefully rotate his remaining bowlers.
It was Bohannon from the Powell End who make the breakthrough as tea approached, bowling Clark for 26 with a delivery that kept slightly low.
Onions then damaged Durham hopes further by snapping up with the wicket of Liam Trevaskis for 3 when the left handed batsman edged to Rob Jones at second slip to leave Durham on 117-5 just before the break.
Ned Eckersley helped Bancroft add 32 to that total before being bowled by Mahmood for 20.
But Bancroft, having survived a chance when on 1, became the rock of the visitor’s innings, progressing steadily to his half century from 99 balls and batting through to the end to finish on 92 having faced 191 balls.
The Durham captain was well supported by Ben Raine who faced 83 balls for his 19 not out and the players shook hands on 194-6 with four overs left.
Lancashire remain unbeaten in the Championship after eight games, and this augural first-class match at Sedbergh School has produced a hugely competitive match, and provided four memorable and enjoyable days of cricket.
Dane Vilas was proud of the fight and effort from his team at Sedbergh.
"It's been a very tough but very good four days,” said the Red Rose skipper.
“We knew it would be a long, hard slog with Durham playing good cricket and coming off a win last week but I was really proud with how the boys stuck at it especially with the two injuries we've had today to two key bowlers who have performed so well for us.
"We wanted to take it out of their reach and then have a good crack at them but we knew it would be difficult with Jimmy (Anderson) out and it would have been nice to have Livvy (Liam Livingstone) because I think it would have turned quite a bit.
"Bunny (Graham Onions) has been so good for us this season and seeing the effort he put in was impressive to see. Guys like Josh (Bohannon) stepped up to plate and made my job easier because they were keen to bowl and knew what the team needed.
"We want a strong squad and we want to keep challenging ourselves because we know we're not going to have Jimmy forever with the Ashes coming up so someone has to try and fill his shoes.”
And Vilas has thoroughly enjoyed his visit to this new venue for Lancashire, adding:
"Sedbergh has been absolutely fantastic - we've had six days here with two practice days and we took a walk up the hill to see the whole town and we've had a really good time.
“They have put on a great show here and I'm looking forward to coming back."
Photos: Barry Mitchell
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